Innistrad, the spooky gothic horror decor of Germanic inspiration from one of the planes of existence of the Magic: The Gathering multiverse, has always been subject to the use of various horror tropes. Original gothic horror tropes from the first Innistrad block to the cosmic horror of Supernatural moon to the popular horror of Midnight hunt, this framework was flush with many different common themes seen in the genre that evokes.
Today, like last week, we’re going to dig deeper into the words we think of when certain cards come to mind. Last week we were talking about cards that evoke “goose bumps”; today we are looking at “haunting” maps.
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary website, “Haunting” (as an adjective) is defined as such:
Note that using this definition, it is still quite difficult to extrapolate the difference between “haunting” and “poignant”. We’ll write an article in a future post that will detail a series of Innistrad sets cards that have a slightly clearer definition of poignant. For now, we’re looking at a haunting darker than that. Without further ado, let’s take a look.
1. InnistradRedemption tree
Redemption tree, a card which was greatly disparaged after its reprint in Masters 25 to Mythic Rare, is still a very big deal regarding its place as a haunting card in the Innistradi lore. It’s hard to imagine a darker map in the expansion without getting into “horrible” or “horrible” also crossing your mind, and we’ll have space for those terms in later articles.
A gigantic tree (illustrated by Vincent ProcÃ©) with thick, sinuous branches on which a large number of nooses adorn it, the Tree of Redemption is a darkly ironic card. Innistrad and its associated sets are full of these types of cards, but this card tops many lists in terms of true morbidity. The fact that this was one of the first cards we thought of is a testament to the spellbinding qualities of this card. There is no buyout for the Innistrad plane, and this card is proof of that.
2. Dark AscensionPersistent souls
Persistent souls is another haunting card in the original Innistrad set, from the second set Dark Ascension, but this piece is much more literal for this purpose. On the map, we see Chef‘s art depicting a pair of geists, or spirits, floating, almost clever, like a residue in the air.
It’s interesting to see Bud Cook’s name on this list more than once; when we wrote on Tooth collector in the previous article in this series, we almost noticed that Cook’s art for Magic: The Gathering is obscure, but he did a lot for Innistrad sets and many more. It only shows us that Bud Cook’s work is being overlooked in favor of many other highly regarded artists (who certainly deserve this praise, don’t get me wrong!).
3. Avacyn restoredThe batting spirit unleashed
While many cards in Avacyn restored absolutely fall under the “poignant” umbrella that we mentioned in a later article, only a few are discouraged and “haunting” in the way we want to present in this article. However, we did not expect in our research to find a Red card that matches this bill, let alone a common red card. Readers, meet Enraged Poltergeist.
The artist for Raging Poltergeist, Slawomir Maniak, truly captured a dark moment on the Innistrad plane with this piece of art. Representing a geist spirit on fire and seeking revenge, Raging Poltergeist truly captures the kind of pain and torment the spirit feels.
4. Shadows over InnistradStrange interlude of
Although not overtly dangerous, Strange interlude shows something dark and supremely ethereal at work, and that mastery of the subject deserves inclusion on this list. The ephemeral nature of the mind in art is something to cry out for.
Svetlin Velinov, the artist of Eerie Interlude, has done a great job here. The act of “sparkling” a permanent is presented with arguably greater aptitude than the art of ghost lane (a card that does a similar job), although to be fair to artist Ghostay Jim murray, Ghostway’s effect as a spell hadn’t really been established in relation to art before at this time.
5. Supernatural moonTattered haunter
There is a lot to be said for the art of Magic artist alum Nils hamm. He’s already done a lot of scary art in the game and has even collaborated with some of the greats like Seb McKinnon on art pieces for various things. The art of Tattered haunt of Supernatural moon is a great example of getting the subject law, especially in a set where “haunting” is not as necessary as in other Innistrad sets.
The art, depicting another geist with chains exuding from the mouth of his torn coat, is something we would hate to encounter outside of our cottage if we were Innistradi. But, considering how lucky we are since we’re here on this assumption, we would likely meet him inside the chalet instead. Not good either!
6. Midnight huntHarvesting the Ghoul Call
The last card we will discuss in this article is the Innistrad: Midnight Hunt menu Harvest of the Ghoul Summoner. This map is neat in that the subject matter looks like something one would find in a decrepit, demented biological science museum, or the Bodies exhibit, or something far more sinister than either. .
With the art of Anna steinbauer, this art is a really interesting piece for what it represents. Zombies in a sickening procession would be the kind of haunting dream that lasts for quite some time in the minds of those who dream of it.
What do you think? That the other Magic: The Gathering the cards from the Innistrad sets do you think they could fit into a “haunting” gallery? Let us know in the comments below!